A leaky basement is one of the most common problems homeowners across Toronto and the rest of the country have to deal with, and statistically it has been shown that a majority of Canadian basements are likely to suffer from either minor or serious moisture problems at some point in time. However, this doesn’t mean that these homes have been poorly constructed, as moisture has a way of finding a route into even the most well built of homes, and it’s not always possible to completely resolve the causes of this issue. However, don’t let that worry you, as in the vast majority of cases it’s possible to prevent the likelihood of your property falling victim to a leaky basement by making some changes to the outdoor drainage systems that your property utilizes and the area that surrounds your home. During this article we are going to take a look at some of the biggest outdoor factors that are known to play a big part in bringing about a leaky basement scenario.
Avoid the Following to Drastically Reduce the Likelihood of a Leaky Basement
Leaky basements are a pain. Not just because they can cost you considerable amounts of money to get fixed depending on the severity of the damage, but the smell, mold and unhygienic conditions that accompany them often make the basement a no-go zone. To prevent this, it’s not always necessary to contract basement waterproofing professionals to carry out a comprehensive waterproofing job; sometimes a leaky basement can be avoided simply by considering a number of outdoor factors that can lead to rainwater being naturally directed towards the foundation walls of your property. When this does happen, these walls essentially form a dam, stopping the water in its tracks and preventing it from going any further. As more and more water is directed towards your home’s foundations, the pressure they are put under builds and builds as the water tries to force its way through. So the real question becomes “how can I stop water naturally being directed towards my basement walls?”
- Landscaping – The first thing to look at is your yard and its gradient. If your landscaping is sloped towards your home, it will direct water that way. Your flower beds, lawn and other areas of land need to be sloping away from your home. It’s important to constantly check on this as over time the weather will cause erosion in these areas, resulting in a change in gradient. One of the reasons why a leaky basement is more likely to be found in an older property than a newer build is that the back-filled soil that was used when the property’s foundations were dug out is far more likely to have settled and sunk, causing the negative gradient we just discussed.
- Patios – Whether you have recently had a patio area designed and constructed in your back yard or it has been there for years, if your lawn is set higher up than the patio, rainwater will typically run onto it and be directed towards the basement walls, eventually resulting in a leaky basement. While it may require an investment to do so, if you have this problem at your home, it could be worth having the patio area ripped up and built again, so that surface run off will be guided away from your home.
- Driveways – Just like poorly planned patio areas, driveways are often one of the main culprits when it comes to inadvertently directing water towards your home. Over the years, parts of your drive may have sunken, changing the gradient of the driveway in those areas, which can be a particularly big problem if they are located close to downspouts. There are various ways to counter this problem, with one of the simplest solutions being to have a small concrete barrier installed around your home that guides the water to the nearest drainage point.
- Downspouts – A poorly planned roof drainage system and downspout can lead to a whole load of problems further down the line, including a leaky basement. A downspout’s role is to efficiently remove rainwater from your roof and safely direct it away from your property. However, too many times these downspouts simply discharge the water right next to your home’s foundations. And this isn’t just a small amount of water either; it can be hundreds of gallons of water per day during the particularly wet periods that we often experience in Toronto. If your property is positioned very closely to that of your neighbors, ensure their downspouts aren’t dumping water outside your foundations too!
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